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Linda's work regularly appears in the Boston Globe Ideas section, Atlas Obscura, Smithsonian magazine, and The Guardian. Below is a small selection of clips; more available upon request.

Boston Globe

Does an iPhone need to look like an iPhone?

September 12, 2017

Apple once relied on skeuomorphism to communicate what its products did; now, even an iPhone doesn't look like an iPhone. Do we still need things to look like things?

Do-it-yourself DNA? Go right ahead!

August 25, 2017

A new portable DNA lab, dramatically democratising who does science, could change the way we do genetics. 

The crazy history of the 'cat lady'

May 21, 2017

The crazy cat lady is one of society's favourite stereotypes -- but where did it come from? And what does it mean?

The tyranny of stock photos

April 9, 2017

For a long time, stock photos have meant that you can't always believe what you see. In a post-truth era, what does this mean?

Trump's signature is 'horrifying', but should you care?

February 1, 2017

President Donald Trump's signature is tight, controlled, scrawled in dark felt-tip pen, with strong upward strokes and little space between the letters; “DonaldJTrump” runs together — bold, upright and jagged. It's not a pretty signature -- but should we care?

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Is this place haunted? I've got this weird vibe

October 28, 2016

We are about to experience something weird. And it’s all supposed to come down to a sound that we can feel, but not hear.

Humans make a mess, but invasives get the blame

November 27, 2016

Invasive species have been branded the second worst thing to happen to nature since humans. But for a growing minority of biologists, conservationists, ecologists, and environmental writers, the answer to what we should do about them is simple: Nothing.

What magic can teach us about our brains

September 2, 2016

“Magicians are trying to find loopholes in cognition, and they’re trying to exploit those loopholes to create their illusions.”

The man with the made-up memories

July 10, 2016

When Alpha Kabeja woke up from his three weeks in a coma, he had three very distinct, very real memories about his life before. The problem was, they weren't real. 

Why alien abductions are down dramatically

June 12, 2016

Denise Stoner was 2½ years old the first time she remembers the alien taking her.

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Atlas Obscura

The Shy Edwardian Filmmaker Who Showed Nature’s Secrets to the World

February 21, 2017

F. Percy Smith, easily the father of modern nature documentary, made flies dance, ants battle, and flowers bloom.

How One Man Used a Deck of Cards to Make Parapsychology a Science

December 27, 2016

Dr. Joseph Rhine believed that psychic powers could be studied—and that he had the tools to do it.

The Controversial Device That Might Make You Feel the Presence of a Higher Power

November 7, 2016

Proponents of the "God Helmet" say it replicates religious euphoria, the feeling of being touched by a higher power. Critics say it's a bit more complicated than that.

The Incredible Chevalier d’Eon, Who Left France as a Male Spy and Returned as a Christian Woman

July 29, 2016

The true story of an 18th century French diplomat who lived the first half of his life as a man and the second half of her life as a woman. 

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The Epic Century-Long English Battle to Rid Itself of American Squirrels

April 27, 2016

Since its introduction in the late 19th century, the North American grey squirrel has dominated Britain, sparking an epic battle with xenophobic tones that pits animal lovers against animal lovers.

Why is Shakespeare Still So Popular? For the Same Reason Tolstoy Hated Him

April 22, 2016

Leo Tolstoy hated Shakespeare. Why do the rest of us still love him, a playwright who died before the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, several major wars, and the advent of the technology that dominates our lives today? 

Inside Laredo, the Secret Wild West Town in the English Countryside

April 15, 2016

How a group of Wild West enthusiasts recreated the American Wild West in the Kentish countryside, just a 30-minute train ride from London. 

The True Story of Roland the Farter

December 28, 2015

How the Internet is putting the "fartists" and "flatulists", artists of a long and hallowed tradition, out of business. 

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What's Really in that Tuna Roll?

September 12, 2017

How DIY DNA sequencing is keeping the food industry in check -- and democratising science. 

The Great Fire of London Was Blamed on Religious Extremeism

September 2, 2016

As the first flames began to spread from the bakery on Pudding Lane, so too did the rumours -- the Great Fire of London was no accident, but a Catholic conspiracy. 

How Are Horoscopes Still a Thing?

January 5, 2016

Astrology has no basis in science, but millions of people still read their newspaper's prediction for their star signs everyday. Why?

How Magna Carta Went Viral

June 12, 2015

In a world before the printing press, how did Magna Carta get around? And how did King John's momentary concession to his angry barons become the foundation of modern democracy?

The Classy Rise of the Trench Coat

May 27, 2015

World War I swept away the old and ushered in a new era -- including in fashion. How a wartime necessity became a luxury.

The ATM is dead. Long live the ATM!

January 8, 2015

The story of the rise, fall, and rise again of the Automated Teller Machine, banking's first great invention.

The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

October 28, 2013

Harmless family entertainment, tool of the Devil -- or fascinating glimpse into the non-conscious mind?

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On the Science of Creepiness

October 29, 2015

You may know creepy when you see it, but why do we get creepy out? What's the evolutionary advantage of getting the shivers? And what makes something or someone creepy?

The History of Creepy Dolls

July 15, 2015

Do you dare enter the Uncanny Valley? How and why dolls creep us out and how long they've done so.

The History and Psychology of Clowns Being SCary

July 31, 2013

How long have clowns been scary? A lot longer than you might think. 

TKO BY Checkmate: Inside the world of chessboxing

May 12, 2013

Yes, it's a real sport. 

The Battle Over Richard III's Bones ... And His Legacy

February 8, 2013

Rival English cities are vying for the much-maligned king's remains after his bones were found under a car park in Leicester.

Are Punch and Judy Shows Finally Outdated?

February 4, 2013

A puppet show about wife-beating, baby-tossing and sausage-eating sounds a bit dated - but more than three and a half centuries on, Punch and Judy continue to get the laughs.

The History of Boredom

November 20, 2012

What is boredom? Why do people suffer from it? And could it possibly be useful?

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Mental Floss and

A Brief History of Princess Leia Buns

April 22, 2015

The real story of how Princess Leia got her iconic buns. 

5 Forgotten Grimm's Fairy Tales

July 31, 2013

There's a reason why you've never heard the tale of the liver sausage and her perfidious friend, the blood sausage.

11 Patron Saints of Food and Drink

May 13, 2013

When you've got company coming for dinner and you want a little divine intervention to make sure all goes smoothly, who do you call? Why, St. Lawrence, of course.

9 Historical Methods for Determining the Sex of an Unborn Baby

March 5, 2013

For women living in a world before ultrasounds, there was no way to tell just what or who or how many were in there. That, of course, didn't stop anyone from trying.

Black Cat Bones, Crocodile Dung, and Coca-Cola: 9 Fascinating Historic Methods of Contraception

February 25, 2013

How did people back in the day make love without making dependents? With a lot of creativity, pseudo-science and hope.

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Inside the World of Fan Fiction

February 8, 2010

For every popular book, every popular universe created lovingly by an author, there's fan fiction. Why fans hold real power now and forever. 

The Explosive History of Food

July-August 2011

Cover story on how food -- what we eat, where we get it, even how we cook it -- has been shaping our destinies

Toilet Paper: How Americans Convinced the World to Wipe

July-August 2009

Nothing says prosperity like flushing away your disposable income.


This story also appeared at, where it was more popular than coverage of Michael Jackson's memorial.

The Original Dear Abby

November 2012

Before Ann Landers and her sister, Dear Abby, before Dear Prudence, before Dear Sugar, there was Beatrice Fairfax. Meet Marie Manning, the mother of American advice columnists.

The Surprisingly Cool History of Ice

November-December 2008

Ice in its natural form has been arround for pretty much ever. But ice in your drink? That's a relatively new invention.


This story also appeared at

101 Masterpieces: The Statue of Liberty

March-April 2013

France may have given America the Statue of Liberty - but America had to pay for the pedestal. That, and everything else you ever wanted to know about Lady Liberty.

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American Way magazine

5 No Clowning Around

May 1, 2012

 Circus Space UK, one of the few places that offers a degree in circus arts, has a job placement rate that might make you rethink running away and joining the circus.

Making History

October 1, 2011

France has a lot of truly medieval castles -- Guédelon isn't one of them. It is, however, truly history in the making: A 15th century castle being built using 15th century methods.

Bunking with the Bard

May 1, 2010

Across the Seine from the Notre Dame, past the souvenir shops selling miniature Eiffel Towers and faux antique watercolors, there lives a piece of literary history: the fabled Shakespeare and Company bookstore.

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Playing With Your Food

October 15, 2010

The eels, whether they like it or not, are part of the experience — and that’s really the only word that can aptly describe an event put on by Bompas & Parr, a London-based creative culinary company that, too, defies easy classification.

Drinking with the Stars

March 15, 2010

Can the moon influence the taste of wine? Whether it’s science or superstition, several major British wine sellers are drinking up the theory of biodynamics.

Manufacturing Greatness

January 15, 2009

Can technology gives us the talent and make us the people we've always wanted to be?

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Other outlets

Did Anyone Actually Build Fallout Shelters?

March 3, 2015

In October 1961, the Kreese family of Long Island, New York took a holiday -- spending 151 hours living in nearly plain sight in a fallout shelter in the middle of a mall. Why?

The All-American Invention of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

August 24, 2014

If there is a truly American food, one that hasn’t been borrowed and transformed from another culinary tradition, peanut butter and jelly is probably it.

In Texas, New Law Helps Defendents Fight Bad Science

February 28, 2014

The Atlantic

Scientific evidence can be the most convincing element of a criminal trial. But sometimes it's wrong—and for the first time, a state's justice system has recognized that and adjusted accordingly.

Robot Babies, No-Kids Tax, and Other Ways Nations Try to Up the Birth Rate

January 15, 2013


How these five nations convinced their citizens to do their patriotic duty and make some babies.



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11 Princesses Behaving Badly

November 19, 2013

Huffington Post

Canny marketing has radically democratized the notion of being a princess, turning something that was once a birthright of a very few into a birthright of pretty much anyone who likes the colour pink. But real princesses are much, much more complex—because real princesses were actual humans, not cardboard cut-outs.

Two Kids at School? Ka-ching!


US News & World Report: America's Best Colleges


How parents of multiple children are struggling to pay for college.

An EKG for Bridges

May 11, 2010


How a medical device may give bridge inspectors a new tool in their arsenal.

Online Dating Means Finding a Suitable Niche

March 14, 2004

Chicago Tribune


Looking for love on the Internet means looking for someone who shares your interests - be they pet ownership, smoking, Wicca, or the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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